Veterans Day


Now, God be thanked Who has watched us with His hour,
And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping,
With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power,
To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping,
Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary,
Leave the sick hearts that honour could not move,
And half-men, and their dirty songs and dreary,
And all the little emptiness of love!

Oh! we, who have known shame, we have found release there,
Where there’s no ill, no grief, but sleep has mending,
Naught broken save this body, lost but breath;
Nothing to shake the laughing heart’s long peace there
But only agony, and that has ending;
And the worst friend and enemy is but Death. – Rupert Brooke, 1914


AT dawn the ridge emerges massed and dun
In the wild purple of the glow’ring sun,
Smouldering through spouts of drifting smoke that shroud
The menacing scarred slope; and, one by one,
Tanks creep and topple forward to the wire.
The barrage roars and lifts. Then, clumsily bowed
With bombs and guns and shovels and battle-gear,
Men jostle and climb to meet the bristling fire.
Lines of grey, muttering faces, masked with fear,
They leave their trenches, going over the top,
While time ticks blank and busy on their wrists,
And hope, with furtive eyes and grappling fists,
Flounders in mud. O Jesus, make it stop! – Siegfried Sassoon, 1918

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. – John McCrae, 1915

Who were they?

…in memory’s eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs, on many a weary march from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle-deep through the mire of shell-shocked roads, to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.

I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always, for them: Duty, Honor, Country; always their blood and sweat and tears, as we sought the way and the light and the truth.

And 20 years after, on the other side of the globe, again the filth of murky foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts; those boiling suns of relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms; the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails; the bitterness of long separation from those they loved and cherished; the deadly pestilence of tropical disease; the horror of stricken areas of war; their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory — always victory. Always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men reverently following your password of: Duty, Honor, Country.

The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral laws and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong.

The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training — sacrifice.

In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him.

However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind… – Douglas MacArthur, 1962

Insanity on Campus

When was the last time a student flunked out of college? I’m not talking about someone who hit the bong so often they just stopped going and dropped out. I want to know when was the last time someone attended class faithfully, attempted to do the course work and was found so lacking in ability that they were forced to leave college due to poor grades. I’ll bet it has been a long time – and if it does happen at all these days, I’ll further bet that such events are very few and very far between.

All of the lunacy we’ve seen on campus of late I trace back to the fact that you don’t need to be hard working or intelligent to get into college: all you need is money; and Uncle Sam will back a loan for you, if you don’t have any of your own. This has flooded colleges with vast numbers of people who don’t know much but who believe they do know quite a bit (after all, they’re in college, right? College people are smart, aren’t they? The current crop, however, is living off the intellectual reputation of those who went to college 50 or more years ago) – and college administrations quake in fear of them. Partially because the administrators are liberal and thus share a great deal of both the ignorance and the certainty of the students, but also because if you try to bring a bit of discipline to campus, you risk the revenue stream (a kid expelled is one less tuition check next semester – and if that happens often enough, there won’t be as much money to pay high salaries to professors and administrators).

It is a toxic stew – can’t risk the money; professors who are aged liberals; students who know next to nothing…and all stirred up by people who either just want a fracas, or who want to game the system to their own advantage (after all, if you’re set to graduate with a worthless “studies” degree next year, it is in your interest to demand that the college hire more people just like you).

There are colleges out there which don’t accept federal money and are thus free from all this – you never hear the kids at Christendom College or Hillsdale College demanding a “safe space”. This is the model we should take as our conservative alternative to the current higher education system. Either that, or make the federal money no-strings-attached – essentially say that as long as it is being used to educate kids, we don’t care what particular sort of education goes on (this has risks, of course – you could get a lot of Kook Universities springing up out there). But one thing is certain is that as long as we keep the current system, the lunacy will only get worse.

UPDATE: One of the events triggering the Missouri dust up was the alleged scrawling of a swastika made of feces. One small problem: no one has any actual evidence that such a thing occurred. We’ll have to see if any does come up. I doubt that it will: we’ve seen plenty of these alleged racist incidents turn out false, or at least entirely uncorroborated.

UPDATE II: Robert Tracinski writes up his own reform proposal – burn the universities to the ground. This is way too extreme, of course: such fires might spread to nearby property, some of which may be owned by sane people. So, I think my proposal still works better.

Open Thread

Quentin Tarantino joins the #BlackLivesMatter movement, makes some anti-police statements; police get angry, Tarantino says:

They want to slander me and imply I’m saying things I didn’t say. The reason is because they want me to shut up… It’s much easier to feign outrage and start arguments with celebrities than deal with the fact that the citizenry has lost trust in them.

Just a little heads up, Quentin: you’ll find that in the general run of things, people want all celebrities to shut up. Mostly because if you’re doing movies, TV and music, you probably only have a hazy idea of how the real world works and thus anything you say is probably divorced from reality. But, that aside, I’m not going to boycott your movies over your statements recently. I won’t be going to see any of them in the future – in spite of the fact that you’re a top-notch movie maker – but that is because I’m coming more and more to the conclusion that movies which kill people in a “cool” manner are not good for the mind and spirit. To be sure, some times a movie has to have some people die – and some times has to have a lot of people die (a war picture, for instance). But there’s a difference between the depiction of the fundamental tragedy of death before one’s time, and death just put out there for our entertainment.

Readers here know that I’ve long called for massive reforms to our police and criminal justice system. But what is wrong with our system has nothing to do with race – there aren’t a host of racist cops out there gunning down people because they are black. It is true, of course, that black people in higher proportions run afoul of our broken justice system, but that is a reflection not of racist police, but of a increasingly failed society – and a failure, it must be noted, created in large part by rich, white liberals. I know how quite a lot of African-Americans feel about it all because I’ve actually listened to them talk about it – but there are also plenty of poor whites, Latinos, etc similarly ground up in the system. There’s a lot which needs to be fixed – people like Tarantino aren’t helping, at all.

Some indications that the Russian jet downed over Sinai was done in by a bomb. We’ll have to see – given that it happened in Egypt and Russians are involved, conspiracy-theories will abound. It would not, of course, surprise me to find that a terrorist did get a bomb on the plane.

Democrats lost badly in Kentucky last night – they are comforting themselves with the old “it was a low-turnout election” thing. They are also making very weird speeches about the defeat. Other than that, it was fun last night to collect some more liberal tears.

As an aside, the polling in Kentucky was downright terrible – a polling lead of five percentage points for the Democrat wound up with a nearly nine percentage point win for the Republican. 2014 polls were pretty terrible, too – you might recall how plenty of GOPers were either behind or neck and neck with their opponents, only to run up smashing victories when the votes were counted. Part of this would be the difficulty in polling in individual States, especially in an off year…but I think that polling is just getting harder and harder to do. Keep that in mind as we head into 2016. That said, latest poll is just hideous for Hillary.

Israeli professor shouted down by student radicals – because free inquiry means not letting alternative views be heard, right?

The city of Houston had a very broad anti-discrimination law up for a vote on Tuesday – Houston is the liberal corner of Texas, by the way. Should have been a slam dunk, but it went down to flaming defeat. Houston is a liberal place – meaning a rather small, rich, white Ruling Class is kept in power by strength of minority votes. Kevin Williamson over at NRO notes some problems for the Democrats in this sort of system. For me, I see the GOP opportunity – and, yes, even an opportunity to do well in places like Chicago and Detroit. It simply can’t be that a working poor African-American has anything in common with those who run the Democrat party. They don’t have much in common with those who run the Republican party, either. But if the GOP were to start offering them some things? And some things that the Democrats simply cannot offer? It could get very interesting.

The Real World is Still Out There

A quote from Gary Kasparov in Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped, via Ace:

Unfortunately, Putin, like other modern autocrats, had, and still has, an advantage the Soviet leadership could never have dreamed of: deep economic and political engagement with the free world. Decades of trade have created tremendous wealth that dictatorships like Russia and China have used to build sophisticated authoritarian infrastructures inside the country and to apply pressure in foreign policy. The naive idea was that the free world would use economic and social ties to gradually liberalize authoritarian states. in practice, the authoritarian states have abused this access and economic interdependency to spread their corruption and fuel repression at home.

There is a myth out there which asserts that capitalism and free trade will lead to greater global interdependence, more political liberty and less chance of war. I don’t quite know where this idea comes from and I can’t for the life of me figure out how anyone can believe it. There was no more free trade in the world than in late July of 1914, when the whole world crashed into war. The British Empire was the guardian of free trade back then, much as we are today. The economies of France, Russia, Germany and Britain were deeply intertwined. Wealth was accumulating. Germany, especially, was the beneficiary of this. And what did they do with their increasing wealth? Built up the most massive military force in the world and then unleashed it as soon as they thought the time was right (they calculated that with Britain nearly in civil war over Home Rule for Ireland and Russia suffering a renewed wave of pre-revolutionary activity, they could get a smashing victory in just a few weeks). Today it is even worse because with modern propaganda techniques, the Russians and Chinese have an easy way to twist our own domestic political processes in a way which helps them – they can lie to us, as it were, through our own media; lull us to sleep, get us worked up over anything other than what is important (and, of course, the Islamists and their fellow travelers also do this).

This is not an argument against capitalism or free trade – it is just a cautionary tale: don’t trust such things to solve the world’s problems. Right now, Russia and China (and especially China) are using the global economy to build up their military power. Russia is already striking – using their old, old method of eating the artichoke one leaf at a time. Will China strike? I can’t see why they wouldn’t. When China’s government figures the time is right, they’ll strike (and we can actually call their activities in the South China Sea as a preliminary moves).

Let no one ever sell you on the notion that there is a panacea for what ails humanity. We are a Fallen species. We will make the most astounding mistakes. Russia is already making them – by attacking us and the EU, they are alienating the very forces they’ll need if China ever turns its hungry eyes on Siberia. China is also being monumentally stupid because no conceivable action of theirs will secure them the precious talisman of control of the seas – and without massive imports, China’s economy grinds to a halt (though making a grab at Siberia would relieve some of these economic pressures on China).

Of course, it doesn’t help the situation at all that we’re being dumber than anyone. Under Obama, we’re signalling to the whole world that we won’t fight. That we are not only a sleeping giant, but a cowardly giant, as well. A bit of vigorous response now and over the next five years and we can at least give massive doubts to Russia, China and the other bad actors in the world that we’re serious (this would mostly involve massive increases in our Navy and Air Force). At long as Obama is in office, we won’t do this – we can only hope the next President will.

Hey, It’s November!

And that means just about a year from now we elect Obama’s replacement. Quite honestly, none of the people running can in any conceivable circumstances be worse than Obama. And, yes, this includes Hillary – she’s corrupt and rather stupid, but I don’t think she’ll do as horrific damage as Obama has done. Of course, we’re talking someone who is 95% as bad as Obama…so, better to go with Jindal, or Cruz, or Rubio.

Still, it is a relief that we are getting to the end of Obama. Well, not the total end – he’s rather young still and we’ll have him around to expound on American life and politics for decades. But at least the pen and phone will be taken away. He’ll only be able to say asinine things – he won’t be able to do them any longer.

As an aside, Rubio won the backing of a bazillionaire who donates to GOP causes…and, of course, pro-immigration causes, because that is what our bazillionaires do. It’d be better for Rubio, I think, if he declined the assist. Let Hillary and the Democrats get money from fabulously rich people – we really don’t need it.

As another aside, for some reason illegal immigrants have got the idea that they are free to enter the US at will – and will be provided benefits when they arrive. I can’t imagine where they picked up that idea.

A bit of a Global Warming Climate Change update – turns out that Antarctic ice mass isn’t actually declining. There are 6.36 million cubic miles of ice in Antarctica; the average thickness of the sheet is 6,500 feet (that is well more than a mile, folks) – we’re going to have to warm up more than a degree or two by 2100 to make a real dent in that.

From the Never Give Up files – Warmists are saying it will be too hot to work because of Global Warming Climate Change.

Democrat Attorney General of Pennsylvania is charged with a bunch of criminal counts. The MSM will ignore this local crime story.

You might recall that Obama promised us that he wouldn’t have US boots on the ground in Syria. That promise has reached its expiration date. We’re sending 60 troops – which is enough for us to get some people killed, but not enough to actually change the situation. This is the Obama Doctrine in a nutshell.

Now they are saying that bacon increases your risk of cancer – this is utter nonsense. Just another silly scare-story. Here’s the deal, folks: you can’t get out of life alive. Eat what you like – but in moderation.

The Obama Legacy

I can’t imagine Obama’s legacy will be too kind to him from his apocalyptic foreign policy, to his destruction of the health care industry, to his mishandling of the economy, and to his divisive nature, there will be many issues facing the next POTUS. Ironically, Obama was quick to blame Bush for everything he inherited and considering the massive number of problems that will confront the next President, I can only imagine the field day the next President could have in blaming Obama. Personally, though I hope the next GOP President will quietly take on the issues in a workman like manner and put Obama in the rear view mirror as I am sure this country is eager to do.

Of all the destruction Obama will leave in his wake however, the destruction of his own party could possibly be the most damaging legacy and could leave the Democrats in a political wasteland for years. Consider this, in 2009 the Democrats had full control 27 State legislatures yet today they control the legislatures in just 11 States, the lowest number since 1978. On the other hand, in 2009 Republicans controlled just 11 State legislatures yet today that number is 30. In addition, the Republicans control the majority of Governorships with 31 including the very blue states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Maryland. The GOP’s State game plan has been far superior then the DNC’s and the 2010 and 2014 election results are proof that the conservative message is resonating at the State level. Part of the GOP plan was to recruit women with their GROW (Growing Republican Opportunities for Women), a successful effort that resulted in many new women being elected including the youngest ever elected Congresswoman in Rep. Elise Stefanik.

At the Federal level, the GOP occupies more seats now in the House than they ever have, and in 2014 took over the Senate thanks in large part to Harry Reid and his tyrannical grip on power. The 2016 POTUS candidate field is a good example of what has transpired over the last several years. On the DNC side we see aging, career bureaucratic politicians campaigning on the same old stale and failed socialist economic ideas and still trying to advance a social agenda that has resulted in riots, rancor and discord throughout the country. On the GOP side, we see a diverse cross section of America from young to old, from politicos to outsiders, and all inclusive of men, women, Hispanic, Black and White, offering ideas that cross the spectrum. Once the next GOP President is elected, they will begin to work with a GOP led Congress and a majority of GOP led States to restore America’s capitalist economy and leadership in the world while the Democrats start to pick up the pieces of a broken party and a failed ideology.

Out and About on a Sunday

A few recent polls show Trump fading in Iowa and Carson surging – which makes sense just on the fact that Carson is a much better fit than Trump for the highly socially conservative Iowa GOP. Be that as it may, Trump is for real. I thought he was a joke candidate. Then I thought he was a candidate surging because of the fury the GOP base has against the GOP establishment. But now it is different – and watching Trump on the trail reveals a man who is a quick learner. He still has massive obstacles to overcome to attain the nomination, but he’s starting to look like a political tsunami…something akin to the way Andrew Jackson came out of nowhere to completely overturn the political establishment in 1828 (and he’s also quite a lot like Jackson – supremely self-confident and determined to have his way, without too much concern about the legal and social niceties). In all the good and bad you can have in a President, the best good is a quick learner…because there is always a learning curve and the best pick it up fast (Obama, like Carter, has not learned a thing – likely because, also like Carter, he doesn’t think he has anything to learn). It remains to be seen if he can navigate his way to the nomination and then to the White House…if he does, the crucial aspect of whether he’ll be a good President is that ability to learn…and if he’s really smart, he’ll learn that the only way an Executive gets the government to do anything is to ceaselessly pester it with Presidential directives (Churchill was one of the few who knew this – and all his “pray give me the facts on one sheet of paper” and “action this day” memos were his way of just giving the bureaucracy no rest until they darned will did what he wanted them to do). The bottom line here is that if the establishment or even insurgents like Cruz want to beat Trump, then they’re going to have to out-campaign him. I don’t think he’ll implode for our entertainment at this point.

The Japanese have a hotel staffed by robots. A look at the future, folks – we’re not replicating ourselves and so we’re building a completely artificial world. Hopefully, this is only a temporary thing and we’ll snap out of it soon.

Climate alarmism – it is designed to scare you into compliance.

Why would Orthodox Russia ally with Islamist Iran? Because they both need oil to be north of $100 a barrel. Please note that China would not be pleased with oil that pricey – if we had anyone in DC with any diplomatic ability, at all, we’d be making hay with this situation. Bismarck said that success comes with hearing the hoof beats of history and grabbing hold of the tail as it goes by…unfortunately, our foreign policy is run by faculty lounge pinheads.

Tony Blair, in what I suspect is an attempt to placate the left in a bid to save Labour from a drubbing next election due to their kook-left party leader, has apologized for the Iraq war.

The prospect of Ryan becoming Speaker is actually a signal that the GOP is uniting. Don’t pop too many bottles of champagne, folks, but it is the way it is working. I see it as this: the TEA Party and the Establishment are getting on the same team. This means we’ll have to put up with some RINOism, and they’ll have to put up with some actual conservatism. This is the way it works, folks – always has and always will. Half a loaf is better than none.